The exit polls had predicted a return of the Left Democratic Front (LDF) to power in Kerala, but even hardcore supporters did not anticipate such a decisive verdict. Kerala not only voted Pinarayi Vijayan, 75, back to power, breaking a four-decade-old trend of alternate front governments—the Communist Party of India (Marxist) or CPI(M)led LDF or the Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF)—but also gave the ruling coalition 99 of 140 seats, eight more than its tally in 2016.
Pinarayi’s victory, which trumped anti-incumbency, high-profile cases of alleged corruption, including the gold smuggling scam, the government’s handling of women’s entry in the Sabarimala temple issue and daily rising cases of Covid, the third highest in the country, underlines his position as the undisputed mass leader within the CPI(M). It also places him as a key figure, along with Mamata Banerjee and M.K. Stalin, in a possible opposition coalition that could challenge the BJP in the general election in 2024. In the process, the opposition UDF was reduced to 41 seats, with the Congress winning only 21 of those. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA), led by the BJP, was in an even more pitiable state, failing to even keep its first ever seat in the state, Nemom, which it had won in 2016. “In 2016, the BJP opened its account with a seat in Nemom,” Pinarayi had told the media days before the elections. “We will close that account this time.” And when he actually did it, he also took the CPI(M) to a commanding tally of 67 seats in the LDF alliance.
The win wasn’t a fluke, Pinarayi had analysed threadbare the strengths and weaknesses of his political opponents. He designed strategies and made alliances to widen the LDF’s mass base in Kerala (see Why the LDF Won). His handling of the devastating floods in consecutive years (2018 and ’19), the Nipah virus outbreak and then Covid-19, has been widely appreciated. In the course of these crises, he also metamorphosed from a seemingly arrogant leader to someone who people could turn to in distress. His daily addresses on primetime TV throughout the pandemic created much viewer interest, boosting his image among voters.
“The LDF’s victory in the assembly poll is unparalleled,” says a former chief secretary who has served with LDF governments in the past. “Pinarayi must get full credit for designing some winning strategies.” Ever since he came to power in 2016, Pinarayi had been keen on a second term, says the former bureaucrat. The chief minister consulted hundreds of experts to design his governance strategies. “He wanted to transform Kerala, set new benchmarks in quality living standards. His initiatives paid rich dividends for the state and for the CPI(M),” says the former bureaucrat.
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THE RUMBLINGS WITHIN
EVEN AS THE BJP’S EXPANSIONIST DRIVE CONTINUES AT A NATIONAL LEVEL, IT IS BATTLING ATTRITION IN SEVERAL KEY STATES IT RULES, INCLUDING SOME THAT GO TO POLLS EARLY NEXT YEAR
THE RACE AGAINST TIME
BATTERED BY THE SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19, THE GOVERNMENT RECALIBRATES ITS VACCINATION STRATEGY IN THE HOPE OF INOCULATING INDIA’S 900 MILLION ADULT POPULATION BY DECEMBER 31. HOW REALISTIC IS THIS TARGET?
THE YOUNG SURVIVORS
On April 8, Deepak Solanki, resident of Bagratawa, a village in Madhya Pradesh’s Hoshangabad district, tested positive for the coronavirus. Two days earlier, Solanki and his wife Anita developed a fever and other flu-like symptoms, but they thought it was likely just about of common flu—it hadn’t yet sunk in that Covid was no longer the urban phenomenon they imagined it to be. However, an RT-PCR test, done on the insistence of Deepak, 45, a district medical representative, proved otherwise. Deepak was admitted to a private medical facility the same day and Anita two days later. Their children—two daughters, aged 18 and 15, and a son, 12—were left in the care of their nephew Shrikant Solanki. All three children, too, had tested positive.
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THE BATTLE FOR ONLINE PRIVACY
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Fear and ‘Safe Zones' in Kashmir
The dramatic and hostile reord er ing of Jammu and Kashmir’s political status visavis the Indian state on August 5, 2019 was followed by a systematic emasculation of the old political order and its replacement by a new set of elected lead ers. The BJPled central government felt that taking control of local governance institutions (panchayat and municipal committees) was the best way to neutralise the traditional political parties and its legislators in the absence of a functioning assembly. But nearly two years down the line, grassroots democ racy has become a hostage in the battle between the militants and government forces. There have been threats and executions and instances of elected representatives fleeing their native villages.
HOW SAFE ARE YOUR KIDS?
WHILE THE ELDERLY REMAIN A PRIORITY FOR COVID CARE AND VACCINATION, THE RISK OF INFECTIONS IN YOUNG CHILDREN MAY HAVE BEEN OVERLOOKED
A New Era Begins
India Election Body Struggles With Scale Of Fake Information
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India At A Crossroads
India is known as the land of contradictions, and recent events do little to undermine that reputation.
New Challenge For BJP As Turncoats Turn Back
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उत्तर प्रदेश में चुनाव से पहले हालात की समीक्षा
यूपी के मुख्यमंत्री योगी आदित्यनाथ ने गुरुवार को गृहमंत्री अमित शाह से मुलाकात की। सूत्रों के अनुसार, केंद्रीय नेतृत्व राज्य में जरूरी बदलाव करने से पहले योगीसे व्यापक विचार-विमर्श कर रहा है। सबसे पहले अमित शाह से मुख्यमंत्री की मुलाकात इसी का संकेत है। नेतृत्व सारी परिस्थितियों पर मुख्यमंत्री की राय जानना चाहता है।
पीएम मोदी से मिले शुभेदु, बंगाल में भाजपा कार्यकर्ताओं के खिलाफ हिंसा पर हुई चर्चा
शुभेंदु ने ममता सरकार पर साधा निशाना, राष्ट्रपति शासन व सीएए लागू की मांग की
60 साल के बाद बदला प्रसाद परिवार का सियासी चेहरा
सरकार कोई भी हो शाहजहांपुर में चुनाव की धुरी हमेशा जितिन का परिवार ही रहा
भाजपा में शामिल हुए जितिन प्रसाद
पूर्व केंद्रीय राज्य मंत्री और कांग्रेस नेता जितिन प्रसाद बुधवार को भारतीय जनता पार्टी (भाजपा) में शामिल हो गएं । उत्तर प्रदेश में कभी दमदार राजनीतिक परिवार से ताल्लुक रखने वाले प्रसाद कांग्रेस से नाराज चल रहे थे।
नीलेश राणे का राहल गांधी पर तंज!
केवल कांग्रेस छोड़ भाजपा में शामिल होने का विकल्प बचा
अखिलेश यादव 'टीका' लगवाएगें, भाजपा ने कहा देर आए दुरुस्त आए
समाजवादी पार्टी प्रमुख अखिलेश यादव के मंगलवार को कोरोना वायरस संक्रमण रोधी टीका लगवाने के बयान पर भारतीय जनता पार्टी ने इसे 'देर आए दुरूस्त आए' बताया।
यूपी में भाजपा की चुनौतियां दोबारा पांच साल की राह में खड़े हैं अगले छह माह!
यूपी में चुनाव अगले साल फरवरी-मार्च में होने हैं। वैसे में तकनीकी रूप से आठ-नौ माह भले बचे हों लेकिन व्यावहारिक तौर पर भाजपा नेतृत्व के पास यूपी में फिर से सत्ता में वापसी के हालात बनाने के लिए इस साल के बचे तकरीबन छह माह का वक्त ही है। यानी इन छह महीनों में वह क्या और कैसे कदम उठाती है उसकी कामयाबी एवं उससे बना माहौल ही फिर से पांच साल के लिए सत्ता पाने की राह तय करेंगे।